What I find most scary about these poll results, and what the NY Times analysis does not go into, is that Rick Perry is a highly skilled campaigner. Even though so many of his statements sound justifiably absurd to those of us on the left (that is, the correct) side of the spectrum, Perry is an expert at pulling the exact strings of his constituency that need to be pulled to ensure his success. There is a reason that this guy, who was a D student in college, who thinks that creationism is taught alongside evolution in his state's public schools against the ruling of the US Supreme Court, who believes global warming is a hoax perpetrated by climate scientists and that prayer is an instrument of public policy, has been elected governor of one of the largest states in the US three times, and in his entire political career has never lost an election.
In spite his seeming penchant for idiotic gaffes and errors, Perry is no idiot. The political left and center will take him lightly at our own risk.